The American Gazette

Commonsense political and social commentary from "Flyover Country"

Location: Rural Michigan, United States

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Lie down with dogs, get up with fleas

Associate yourself with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation for 'tis better to be alone than in bad company.
George Washington

Let's talk a bit about John Kerry's old "band of brother's". The Vietnam Veterans against the War.

A little history if you will. One of the founder's of VVAW was Mark Hubbard. Mr. Hubbard claimed that he was an Air Force pilot who spent 2 years in Vietnam, who crashed and was injured at Danang or in another version that he was flying a transport plane into Danang when he caught some shrapnel.

"Alfred H. Hubbard entered the Air Force in October 1952, re-enlisted twice and was honorably discharged in October 1966, when his enlistment expired. At the time of his discharge he was an instructor flight engineer on C-123 aircraft with the 7th Air Transport Squadron, McCord Air Force Base, Tacoma, Washington. There is no record of any service in Vietnam, but since he was an air crew member he could have been in Vietnam for brief periods during cargo loading, unloading operations or for crew rest purposes. His highest grade held was Staff Sergeant E-5."

Ah, ooops. It was Al Hubbard who as executive Director of the VVAW who appointed Kerry to the Executive Committee. Considering that many of those who participated in the Winter Soldier "Investigation" also were not vets who used the names of real vets, or were vets that had not been in Vietnam one has to ponder if it is not Kerry's experience that exaggeration of his deeds in Vietnam are a norm and that the news media will not report on it. Despite knowing shortly after the hoopla on the mall in 1971 that Al Hubbard was not a vet who was in Vietnam the major papers and media outlets would not publish it.

Then there is Scott Camil, another founder of VVAW. The brain who thought assassinating hawk Senators would be a good thing. In his own words.
"I did not think it was terrible at the time. My plan was that, on the last day…we would go into the [congressional] offices…we would schedule the most hard-core hawks for last-and we would shoot them all.” L: “Were you serious about this?” C: “I was serious. I felt that I spent two years killing women and children in their own fu*king homes. These are the guys that fu*king made the policy, and these were the guys that were responsible for it, and these were the guys that were voting to continue the fu*king war when the public was against it. I felt that if we really believed in what we were doing, and if we were willing to put our lives on the line for the country over there, we should be willing to put our lives on the line for the country over here."--Scott Camil, former Vietnam Veterans Against the War leader, in a 1992 oral history of the anti-war movement still on file at the University of Florida

Nearly from the time the VVAW was formed there were accusations that it was linked to Communists. Again I note that I do not believe John Kerry is a communist, but it seems to me he is not uncomfortable being in bed with them.

"John was also very anticommunist. He made it very clear one night in the office.
I do these photo spreads for the Liberation News Service.... I just give it away like to the New York Press Service, and so there was a spread on VVAW in the Daily World, an American communist newspaper, and my sh*t got in there. We pinned it up on the wall. At that same time, Al Hubbard received a peace award from the Soviets. John went off. He says, "That's a communist newspaper. Isn't that prize a communist prize that Al Hubbard got there?" He's got his feet up on the desk and he's a little nervous, which is making him think, “Maybe I should leave this radical organization." But we had no political philosophy; it was just a mixed bag of rednecks all the way to Maoists."--Sheldon Ramsdell, a former VVAW member, from Winter Soldiers - An Oral History Of The Vietnam Veterans Against The War 1997 Richard Stacewicz

Ok then. John Kerry was not a communist, but he was very willing to work with people he knew to be forging ties with them.

From the same book.
"That was also where there was actually some discussion of assassinating some senators during the Christmas holidays. They were people who I knew from the organization with hotheaded rhetoric.
They had a list of six senators ... Helms, John Tower, and I can't remember the others, who they wanted to assassinate when they adjourned for Christmas. They were the ones voting to fund the war. They approached me about assassinating John Tower because he was from Texas. The logic made a certain amount of sense because there's thousands of people dying in southeast Asia. We can shoot these six people and probably stop it. Some of us were willing to sabotage materials, but when it came to people ... I mean, there were a lot of angry people. They had been in Vietnam, they had lost friends. This had gone on for years; some of them had been protesting for five or six years. They were cynical, nihilistic, and some of them did talk real tough rhetoric, but nobody ever got shot by any of these people. It was just talk.
When I got back from that meeting, I couldn't get up the enthusiasm any more.
The meeting in Kansas City brought in a new steering committee. John Kerry, Craig Scott Moore, Mike Oliver, and Skip Roberts resigned from their leadership positions and were replaced by several new members. Al Hubbard and Joe Urgo remained in office and were joined by John Birch, Lenny Rotman, and Larry Rottman."

This is the meeting that John Kerry has denied attending, though recent release of FBI files indicate that he did and that he had a terrific falling out with Al Hubbard, yet to this day what has John Kerry said about his time in the VVAW and his anti-war activities? I believe he says he is proud of his fight against the war, even if his testimony was a bit over the top. That testimony came in large part from the Winter Soldier "investigation" as well as from a book by Mark Lane "Conversations with Americans". Mark Lane also helped set up the Winter Soldier put on. From Neil Sheehan, a Pulitzer Prize winner who wrote for the New York Times-in a review of Mark Lane's book.
"Chuck Onan says he was in an elite Marine long-range patrol unit, that he went to parachute, frogman and jungle survival schools and received a special course in torture techniques. "How were you trained to torture women prisoners?" Mr. Lane asks. "To strip them, spread them open and drive pointed sticks or bayonets into their vagina," Onan replies. "We were also told we could rape the girls all we wanted."
Onan says he deserted after he got orders to go to Vietnam and put his knowledge into practice. "I was pretty gung-ho until the last phase of the training. Then it all began to seem so sick. They just went too far."
Now here is some information that Mr. Lane did not include in his book. Marine Corps records say the only combat training Onan received was the normal boot camp given every Marine. He then, according to the records, attended Aviation Mechanical Fundamentals School at Memphis, Tenn., and next worked as a stock room clerk at the Marine air base at Beaufort, S.C., handing out spare parts for airplanes. He left Beaufort on Feb. 5, 1968, with orders to report to Camp Pendleton, Calif., for shipment to Vietnam after 30 days leave. He deserted. There is no indication in his records that he ever belonged to a long-range patrol unit and received parachute, frogman and jungle survival training. The Marine Corps contends it does not give courses in torture.

It is worth noting that Neil Sheehan is the reporter that Daniel Ellsburg leaked the Pentagon Papers to. That is how he got his Pulitzer. Mr. Sheehan had also been a reporter in Vietnam, and he knew that Mark Lane and his stories were "over the top" as Kerry says. In a review of Mark Lane's book, Mr. Sheehan said-
"This book is so irresponsible that it may help to provoke a responsible inquiry into the question of war crimes and atrocities in Vietnam. "Conversations with Americans" is a lesson in what happens when a society shuns the examination of a pressing, emotional issue and leaves the answers to a Mark Lane."

Yes, Sir Mr. Kerry, when you lie down with dogs you get up with fleas. Or perhaps this one, you reap what you sow. While Mr. Kerry screeches along about the Bush attack machine, demanding that the President more or less shut down the Swifties, his own activities as an "over the top" anti-war protestor involved with an "over the top" radical group will come out one way or another. There is too much anger over this issue for it to go away.

All this talk of the Vietnam past has a great impact on today, though there are many in the liberal media who are busy trying to make it not important. But it is. The split that occurred in this country during the Vietnam War is not gone, it was simply papered over for awhile. That split is not simply people over a divide shouting at one another over a long ago war either. It points to deep divisions regarding how America is seen by various groups of American people. That means it impacts our culture TODAY. The culture Wars are alive and well, but it is not a simple thing here. It cuts to the heart of how American's see their country and ultimately which view will win.

Are the founders great men to be emulated or are they stupid white men? Will America truly have equal justice for all under the law or will we institute special laws making it more of a crime to kill a gay man than a man who is not? Will we be a country that expects it's people to have responsibilities along with rights or not. That divide that is seen so clearly right now in the presidential election campaign is a divide that has it's birth many, many years before now. John Kerry was in the vanguard of that original division, his views have not changed a great deal over the year by his senatorial record, and that is why his anti-war activities and the "band of brothers" he worked with then are so important now. His were not the rantings of a immature young man who has since rethought those stands. Instead it was the time he formed himself and his character, and yes character counts.

The last thing that begs to be addressed here is as a member of the Executive Committee for the VVAW who attended a meeting where assassination of members of Government was discussed, even if Kerry resigned immediately, why did he not inform the appropriate authorities? Yes, indeed character counts. George Washington understood that. Benedict Arnold did not.


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